Marking Exhaustivity in Dagbanli

  • Abdul-Razak Inusah Tamale College of Education
  • Edward Salifu Mahama University for Development Studies, Tamale
Keywords: Focus marker, Dagbanli, ex-situ, exhaustivity, ko

Abstract

The paper examines the semantics of the so-called focus particle ko as an exhaustive marker in Dagbanli, a Gur language spoken in Ghana. The paper argues that ko expresses exhaustivity in both in situ and ex situ when it occurs in a focus sentence. In Dagbanli, contrastive focus is marked only by the presence of a focus marker. The paper explores ko as an operator expressing exhaustive focus on constituents and examines exhaustivity of ko as a pragmatic inference giving specific meaning to it. It shows that the particle only occurs in exhaustive focus environments in the language and focuses on both non-subject constituents and subject constituents. The paper argues that Dagbanli expresses exhaustive in ex-situ and in-situ with evidence to show that the construction of Dagbanli is established as monoclausal. Finally it shows that ko can co-occur with the focus markers [ka, n, la] in ex-situ. The paper employs four standard tests for exhaustivity using mainly Kiss’s (1998) distinction between the two types of focus and a test of exhaustivity developed by Szabolcsi (1981).

Author Biographies

Abdul-Razak Inusah, Tamale College of Education

Eglish department 

Rank: Tutor

Edward Salifu Mahama, University for Development Studies, Tamale

Institute of Interdisciplinary Research and Consultancy Services (IIRaCS)

rank:director / snr lecturer

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Published
2019-06-30